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Attitude Makeover: Bad Temper

The First 21 Days
Immediately institute a Bad-Temper Cure Policy by setting one rule: "We talk only when we're calm." Write it up as a contract, and have everyone sign it. Then establish a family guideline: "When anyone feels their temper is ready to flare, they take a time-out." The bad-tempered member then walks away and doesn't return until he's completely calm and under control. Everyone in the family should honor that guideline. The best place to practice controlling tempers is in our homes, and intentionally doing so as a family is the most effective way to ensure that your kid can control his temper in the real world. It will most likely take twenty-one days until the rule becomes a habit that all members use consistently no matter where they are. From then on, the habit should become automatic without thinking about it.

Attitude Makeover Pledge
How will you use these steps to help your kid control his quick temper and achieve long-term change? On the lines below, write exactly what you agree to do within the next twenty-four hours to begin changing your kid's attitude so he is less quick-tempered.




The New Attitude Review
All attitude makeovers take hard work, constant practice, and parental reinforcement. Each step your child takes toward change may be a small one, so be sure to acknowledge and congratulate every one of them along the way. It takes a minimum of twenty-one days to see real results, so don't give up! And if one strategy doesn't work, try another. Write your child's weekly progress on the lines below. Keep track of daily progress in your Attitude Makeover Journal.

Week 1




Week 2




Week 3




Ongoing Attitude Tune-Up
Where does your child's attitude still need improvement? What work still needs to be done?




Attitude Makeover Resources
For Parents
Angry Kids: Understanding and Managing the Emotions That Control Them, by Richard L. Berry (New York: Fleming H. Revell Co., 2001). Discusses the root causes of anger in kids and explains ways parents can help them learn techniques for expressing and defusing that anger.

Healthy Anger: How to Help Children and Teens Manage Their Anger, by Bernard Golden (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003). Easy steps to help kids guide and control their anger.

The Angry Child: Regaining Control When Your Child Is Out of Control, by Dr. Tim Murphy and Loriann Hoff Oberlin (New York: Clarkson Potter, 2001). Easy-to-follow strategies that help angry kids manage anger and help parents recognize signs of serious problems.

When Anger Hurts Your Kids: A Parent's Guide, by Patrick McKay (New York: Fine Communications, 1996). A superb guide explaining how parents' anger affects kids and offering ways to regain control.

The Mad Family Gets Their Mads Out: Fifty Things Your Family Can Say and Do to Express Anger Constructively, by Lynne Namka (Charleston, Ill.: Talk, Trust & Feel Press, 1995). Useful ways to help kids who are struggling to express anger constructively and help families learn how to deal with anger in nonviolent ways and relate to each member positively.

Tired of Yelling: Teaching Our Children to Resolve Conflict, by Lyndon D. Waugh (Atlanta, Ga.: Longstreet, 1999). A psychiatrist's parenting solutions for defusing family tension and helping toddlers through teens learn skills of peacemaking.

For Kids
Anger Management Workbook for Kids and Teens, by Anita Bohensky (New York: Growth Publications, 2001). Teaches effective coping behaviors to help stop the escalation of anger and resolve conflicts. Ages 12 to 18.

Harriet, You'll Drive Me Wild! by Mem Fox (New York: Harcourt, 2000). Harriet doesn't means to be troublesome. She's always very sorry for her behavior afterward. Her mother doesn't like to yell and usually gently reprimands her. But as her shenanigans escalate, so does her mom's blood pressure. When that edge is finally reached, Harriet's mom yells and yells. Ages 4 to 8.

Hot Stuff to Help Kids Chill Out: The Anger Management Book, by Jerry Wilde (Kansas City, Mo.: Landmark Productions, 1997). A book that speaks directly to kids and adolescents and provides clear guidelines to help them handle hot tempers more constructively. Ages 10 to 15.

When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry (New York: Scholastic, 1999). A little girl who has trouble managing her anger learns how to take time to cool off and regain her composure. Ages 3 to 7.

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From Don't Give Me That Attitude by Michele Borba, Ed.D. Copyright © 2004 by Michele Borba. All rights reserved. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Buy the book at www.amazon.com.


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